Turkey has its first ever directly elected president, after its existing prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won the presidential election at the start of August, vowing to build a new Turkey.
Erdogan’s election as President of Turkey should enable him to continue to drive the growth he has generated as Turkey’s prime minister since 2003. He is credited with driving commercial growth in the country, attracting foreign investment, implementing ground-breaking infrastructure projects and opening up the Turkish property market to foreigners.
Flagship projects launched under his governance include the new Marmaray tunnel in Istanbul, as well as setting in motion plans for the city’s third airport, set to be the largest in the world. Erdogan will be inaugurated as president on 28th August and could serve two five-year terms, potentially staying in power until 2024. His successor as prime minister is yet to be announced.
“Today we are closing an era and taking the first step for a new era,” Mr Erdogan said in his victory speech from the balcony of his party headquarters in Ankara. “It is not only Recep Tayyip Erdogan who won today. Today, national will has won once again. Today, democracy has won once again.” Mr Erdogan promised a “new social reconciliation process” where all Turks of whatever origin or belief would be equal citizens of the country. Previous Turkish presidents have been ceremonial figureheads, but Erdogan says he intends to change the constitution and establish an executive presidency.